Saturday, November 28, 2009

Being Thankful

Thanksgiving means something different to everyone.

I have no idea what it means to you as you read these words. But, since they are my words, I am going to share what it means to me to be thankful.

Being thankful is the ability to look back over the years and see the good times and the bad and know that each time was part of a bigger plan for me and my family. It is being able to laugh about the potato sandwiches and cracker burgers....and realize how far we have come.

It is seeing all the ups and downs of marriage and still looking at the one you married and knowing you wouldn't have done it any other way.

It is remembering all those that have come through your life and all they have added. It is the advise of grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts that you can now hear yourself repeating to your own families.

And it is knowing that who you are is shaped by those that have loved you.

Thankfulness is sitting back, and really looking at all that has taken place in your life and the lives of those that mean the most and truly recognizing what God has done, that prayer works, that He has been here for every trial, every victory.

It is seeing your children, grown into *semi* adulthood, seeing who they are and what they stand for, listening to them as the values that you have given them are repeated out of their mouths. Knowing that their future dreams for themselves all involve the Master Planner.

Thanksgiving is not a one day occurrence for see, I have way too much to be thankful for to confine it to one day. Everyday is a day to rejoice, a day to praise!

Thanksgiving is a way of life....not just a day to overeat.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spare the Rod

One of the greatest challenges I have ever faced is being a parent, knowing, KNOWING I had the awesome responsibility of growing responsible human beings who could function in society and carry themselves with dignity and respect for those around them.

It has been a *challenge* that I have taken seriously.

Denise and I were talking the other day and we began to discuss parenting. We talked about some people that we have known that have tried to fit in with their children and the end result.

I told her, "Denise, I'm your mother. And although we DO have a wonderful relationship that fact has never changed. I am your MOTHER."

We have all heard someone say, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" as they prepare to correct their child.

And, you know what? It does. It hurts ME as a parent when my children do something that they know they should not do and that THING results in correction.

But...that doesn't stop me from correcting.

The Proverb "Spare the rod and spoil the child" that so many like to repeat is not saying, "hey, don't spank the little wee ones for being bad...just love them! Spoil them!"

No, it's saying if you don't correct your child they will become spoiled.

I used to love to quote Proverbs 23:13 to my children when they were little. "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."

And that is followed so aptly by "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from Hell" in verse 14.

Do not misunderstand me, my children were in no way beaten at every turn....

Guess why?

They knew that when Daddy or Mama said "If you do this, THIS will be the consequence."

And they KNEW that if they did that they would GET the consequence.

I have told my children before a spanking that this was not my choice, but when they did that thing after I had told them this was going to be the end result they were forcing me to carry it through.

And, let me tell you something....I SURELY have never had perfect children. They have made mistakes and will continue to do so. But my husband and I have SomeHow managed to raise two young adults that we can both be proud to say they are ours.

And we didn't do it using the buddy system.

Now, I have said all of that to say this. I cannot understand this whole concept that seems to have taken hold of a majority of the church world today that God is just this big teddy bear that just loves everybody and accepts you no matter what!!

We, as Christians, become his CHILDREN.

In the book of Isaiah God is talking to his children.

Isaiah 1:18-20 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. IF ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Sound familiar?

Before He reached this place with them where He could reason with them He told them specifically what they needed to do.

Isaiah 1:16-17 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

He says "Ok, this is what you need to do as my children. And IF you do what I say, if you are obedient, you shall have plenty. But if you don't...punishment will follow."

He gave them direction.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keepth the law, happy is he.

You may wonder what has that got to do with anything?

If we do not have some set guidelines for our children to follow, if we as parents do not give them OUR vision of how you behave, how you carry yourself, of what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior....If we leave our children to raise themselves and not respect the authorities in their lives...we are setting them up for a life of unhappiness and strife.

When we do not give our children a clear path and boldly declare what the constraints will be...if we do not have a STANDARD for our children to follow, then they will have no convictions, no idea how to carry themselves or how to survive and be successful in this life.

The same goes with the church. If our Pastors and Leaders do not have a vision and do not boldly declare God's will and STANDARDS for the church, God's people will cast off their moral restraints and subsequently perish.

We need the correction of God. His Word does have guidelines for us to follow, and if they don't follow the way of the world at large there is a reason for that. Sometimes we have to taste some bitter medicine, like the Castor Oil of old, but if it keeps us from getting SICK, if it protects us from something we as CHILDREN cannot see, then I am willing Lord.

I do not want the Lord to withhold His correction from me. If I am doing something that could lead to me missing out on Heaven CORRECT your child. And I know that it is painful when that correction comes, to me and to my Father, but I would rather suffer a little pain than be lost.

Correction is not a lack of love. Correction is the fullness of love.

Train me up today, Lord, and make me into who You want me to be, because I am getting older, and I NEVER want to depart from YOUR presence.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Georgia On My Mind

When I was a wee lil girl we lived in Georgia. My parents were both from Georgia, my brother and my sister were both born in Georgia...I was the only odd ball *born in Florida* but I celebrated my 3rd birthday living in Valdosta, Georgia.

We moved away in 1975 but we spent every summer of my natural born life in Georgia until I married.

I can remember the trips here, looking out the window, dreaming of someday being back and riding around the state taking picture of *stuff* like tobacco barns, old churches, abandoned houses, small town life.

I have traveled many miles across this state, from the flat lands to the mountains, from the canyons to the ocean and all the wonderful in between.

I love this state. I love the people, the accents *which I am NOW the proud owner of* and the land.

I love the farming, the industry, the big cities and the one red light speed traps....I love it all!

I cannot, at this point in my life, imagine living anywhere else...this is my home. I know people here, and I am known...I have roots here....and I have family and church family....

People wave at you here....whether they know you or not. They talk to you....they actually SEE you....

I know that this has been part of God's plan for me all return to this in hand....and dwell here among friends. I have lived in Georgia most of my life, and I would like to think I am a Georgian.

I am happy here....and I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Various Things

I have decided I have Adult ADD. And this post should prove that.

I talked to my Dad last night. He sounded chipper yet concerned. They have moved him to traditional rehab and he says he WILL get up and walk again. He very excitedly told me he walked 300 yards with a walker. Now for someone who has been in the bed for 9 weeks and who only has one leg to begin with that is an accomplishment.

He is worried, though, because he has always been the Alpha Male...always providing for his family. Now, he is in a position where he is struggling with the knowledge that he has to at least be able to transfer himself or he is in big trouble.

I watched the video of my wedding reception a while back to show someone all the people they would never meet, my Papa, my Father-in-law, etc. Suddenly my big strong Daddy came striding into the scene. It was definitely a bitter sweet moment to once again see the Daddy of my youth.

My parents are 750 miles away. There is not a moment that I don't miss them.

I have been very melancholy lately. Maybe it is the fact that I am about to have ANOTHER birthday...I don't know. But, there is this situation that I have been faced with, and normally I don't let things like this get under my skin. But for some reason this has. I feel like I am being blamed for something I had no part in.

And although I know within my heart that it's OK I guess my feelings still got hurt. The other people involved don't know my life or what I have been through in the past few months because if they did they would know that what happened could have not been at my hand. I have other, more important things to deal with, but they don't know my life, nor do they know me, so what do I expect, right?

I guess I expect more of people. That's what hurts me.

I know I have done some dumb things in life, and one of those dumb things has come back to bite me on the proverbial hiney. Believe it or not, I have no problem saying I was wrong, and I did. I can't make the other person forgive me, but I have prayed about it and that's all I can do. Maybe this is a season where God is showing me how to suck it up and I am just doing a poor job at it.

We recently got a new dog....I know, just what we need. His name is GoKu and he is a Sheltie. We got him from what I can only describe as a puppy mill. Hence GoKu has a LOT of trust issues.

Getting him to come back into the house after he does his business has been a major issue. And I guess whoever taught him NOT to trust was a male because he has a really hard time with men.

We have had to be gentle with him, but he is coming around. He has figured out how to climb the stairs and sleeps on the floor beside the bed. About 3 am he started whining and Bobby got up and took him back down and out to use the bathroom. (he can't get back down yet..hehe)

He is such a good boy, but we have really been practicing patience with him.

And I got to thinking, isn't that the was it is in church, too? Sometimes we get new people that have been abused by the world, or by the church and we have to be extra gentle, extra patient until they learn to trust us. GoKu!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Best Thing I've Ever Done

Heard a wonderful message from my Pastor again this Sunday morning....Even sick, he can flat out preach!

The message was simply titled "Truth."

I know that there are those who scoff at my choices, at the things I hold dear. They say that "times they are a changing" and it is not necessary to really "follow" the Word of God.

I say "nay nay!" It has never been more necessary than this moment.

The Bible is the Word of God. And it is very precise about the beginning of life, and the ending of this life. There are no *maybes* only absolutes.

There are those in the Christian world today that would have you believe that you can live your life in any manner you choose and still see Heaven....

My Pastor said "Truth cannot be ADAPTED, it must be APPLIED."

It is not a feel good festival. Yes, I serve an awesome God that is full of grace and mercy. But, He is also the One that I will face on that CERTAIN day.

There is no alternate ending, it has not gone back for a rewrite. The Word of God has not changed.

Galatians 1:9

As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

This world is not interested in what it means to be a Christian. We cannot mold our lives around what we see on a daily basis. We have been given a measuring stick by which to measure our lives and it is not Hollywood, or the political arena. It is the Word.

I don't live the way I used to, don't act the way I used to, don't dress the way I used to, go where I used to.....and I don't ENJOY the things I used to.

I met Someone who made such a profound change on my life that I no longer desired the same things....I fell in love with Him.....

And it was, by far, the best thing I've ever done. I'm not the same in any area of my life, and although I have a long way to go I know without a doubt that I don't ever want to go back.

Truth is just that....Truth

Have you felt like something was missing? Been to church and wondered why you never left feeling any different? When was the last time you wept with conviction and knew something about your life needed to change? When was the last time you left a service feeling REALLY changed beyond a feel good pat on the spiritual head?

I encourage you today to meet my Jesus, and go someplace where you can worship Him "in spirit and in truth!"